Traditionally, blood pressure checks involve individuals sitting down, with a doctor using an arm cuff to measure their blood pressure.
However, recent research suggests that lying flat during these tests could provide valuable insights into the risk of heart-related problems such as strokes or heart attacks.
This unexpected finding has prompted discussions among doctors and scientists about potentially reconsidering the way these tests are conducted in the future.
The Significance of Blood Pressure Checks
Blood pressure checks are essential because high blood pressure can lead to serious heart-related issues. Typically, doctors use an arm cuff to measure blood pressure while the individual is seated.
This measurement results in two numbers: one for when the heart beats (systolic) and one for when it’s at rest (diastolic).
Although doctors have recommended 24-hour blood pressure monitoring as the gold standard, it’s impractical for many due to the discomfort of wearing a cuff continuously.
The New Study’s Findings
The recent research analyzed data from over 11,000 participants involved in a long-term study. These individuals had their blood pressure measured both while sitting and lying down. They were categorized into four groups:
- Normal blood pressure in both positions.
- High blood pressure when sitting.
- High blood pressure when lying down.
- High blood pressure in both positions.
Over time, those with normal blood pressure in both positions had the lowest risk of heart problems, while those with high blood pressure in both positions had a high risk.
Surprisingly, individuals with high blood pressure only when lying down had nearly the same risk as those with high blood pressure in both positions.
Those with high blood pressure when lying down were more likely to experience heart-related issues and had a higher risk of mortality from such problems compared to those with normal blood pressure.
Implications and Future Research
While these findings are intriguing, experts agree that further studies are necessary before considering changes to blood pressure testing protocols.
It’s worth noting that participants in the study were lying down for about 20 minutes before the test, which is longer than the typical duration at a doctor’s office. Therefore, conventional sitting blood pressure tests will remain the standard practice for now.
However, this research hints at the potential benefits of lying down during blood pressure tests, as it may offer more accurate readings and help identify health risks earlier.
This new approach could potentially identify individuals at risk who are unaware and need treatment. It might also suggest that some individuals currently undergoing treatment may not require it.
However, until more research is conducted, the traditional seated blood pressure test will continue to be the standard practice.
If you care about heart disease, please read studies about a big cause of heart failure, and common blood test could advance heart failure treatment.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about a new way to repair human heart, and results showing drinking coffee may help reduce heart failure risk.
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